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Joanne Pizzino, MD, MPH, is board-certified in Preventive Medicine and diplomate-certified in Integrative Medicine. After her own self-empowered healing epiphany in 1997, she has guided people to live healthier through both Eastern and Western medicine, ancient and ultra-high-tech healing.

Calling Back Your Power to Thrive

By Joanne Pizzino, MD, MPH
Medical Editor of Health&Healing

Dr. Pizzino

Twenty-five years ago this month, I chose to call back my innate creative power to heal. This choice literally changed my reality from one of extreme physical pain and disability to a journey that has unequivocally shown me I can create the life I love.

In a miraculous moment, lying on the ground under a brilliant North Carolina spring equinox sky, I called back my power to choose an emotion that had literally ruled my life for 13 years. Multiple therapists had told me we don’t choose our emotions; we must just accept them. As someone who had difficulty accepting my negative emotions because I was never given permission to have them, this was probably the first step to learning how to choose them. After all, how can you make choices about something you don’t even acknowledge is there? And yet, on that warm spring day, I learned that making a more empowering choice, telling myself a new story, viewing a perpetrator as a blessing instead of being a victim, I changed my physiology from unable to lift a fork, to flourishing, fully-engaged well-being.

How did I learn to possess and wield my own power? This question has driven two-and-a-half decades of probing deeply into the science of co-creation: possessing and augmenting the elemental creative forces in my body and the rest of reality to manifest the thriving, vital Unique Self I claim as my life. From medical school to board-certifications in Preventive Medicine, Family Medicine, and Integrative Medicine, real science has removed any doubt that we can control our own bodies. Most often we hear about this in terms of lifestyle options. And, if we look a little deeper, we find there is also copious research showing that managing our minds can have equal, if not greater, potency to create health in the body. But exactly how do we do this? Why have I, and many others, struggled for years to see “reality” confirm the vision we think we are projecting on to it?

There are countless pundits, coaches, and “masters” out there who claim to offer the keys to commanding our own reality, and many have at least partial wisdom to share about this. I tend to gravitate to those who are “walking the talk” and radiating personal integrity before wanting to take a test drive. Despite having a momentous epiphany which changed my health and my life once, there has certainly been no “overnight success” with many other paths into which I have put my energy.

Nonetheless, I recently came across four core choices proposed by Christopher Duncan in his book You Are Not Broken. (In any event, I love the title as it promotes a message rarely found in a health care system that makes trillions of dollars from trying to “fix” you.) Let’s take a look at these four core choices and how they can be applied to determining our reality. First, I will list the choices verbatim from the book, then explore how one might apply these to creating the reality of thriving wellness.

  1. I choose to be the predominant creative force in my life.
  2. I choose to love my life.
  3. I choose health and vitality.
  4. I choose to live my true nature and purpose.

The discussion about whether we are victims of a screwed-up universe or powerful creators is beyond the scope of this article, so I will base my comments from the standpoint of one of the most useful questions I have come across:

Does this thought empower me, or make me feel drained?

To me, this one question removes endless argument and resistance to any decision or preference I might consider. Either it makes me feel strong and competent and in love with my life, or it drags me down, makes me feel stuck or victimized. Try it on throughout your day, taking the briefest moment to ask your body and your soul how it feels about what you are going to do next.

Applying this to Choice #1, above, is pretty simple: Either I choose to believe I have power in a given situation, or I choose to feel helpless and ineffective. That’s got to be the first choice, right? If not, the rest of it is just a waste of time.

Choosing to Love My Life

Choice #2—electing to love my life—is actually defining whether I am at cause or effect of what is going on around me. If I am at cause, I own how I react to it. It is not so much about making lemonade from lemons, as it is about claiming my power to determine how I feel.

This does not mean I don’t honor my real feelings of sadness, fear, or outrage. It means I use them as clues to deeper energies moving within me which can guide Choice #4. For instance, if I am angry about something, the person that I am can still love her life. She just pays attention to something “not right” going on externally which goes against her true nature. Her purpose can then be to “fix” the “not right,” or simply move in the direction to which her true nature guides her.

I love the analogy of pinball to help me avoid getting hung up and distracted with the “fixing.” On the pinball’s journey to the target with flashing lights and a big payoff, it does not want to get stuck to or waylaid by any of the pins it bounces off. It just uses them to provide friction and momentum to reaching the real goal. Of course, knowing what that “real goal” is—that is, innately sensing what is your true nature and purpose—can be a lifelong journey that gets frequently redefined as we follow Shakespeare’s dictum “To thine own self be true.”

Choosing Health and Vitality

In contemplating Choice #3, the rubber really meets the road when it comes to the reality of our bodies. How does one choose “health and vitality” if one doesn’t actually feel that way? We can’t simply deny or distract from pain or life-threatening diagnoses. And yet, very clear research says we can lead our bodies to wellness. We can use our minds to measurably turn on the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which manifest the body’s innate intelligence for homeostasis (balance and repair.)

How would you feel if this health condition was already resolved? What actions would you take in your life to live in a way that keeps your defenses strong against its return? Which aspects of your life would you savor once you have turned on those built-in healing mechanisms? Is it more empowering to spend your time daydreaming of these sensations, or mindlessly allowing your thoughts to dwell on fear of death, disability, pain, financial loss or other less vitality-inducing thoughts related to illness?

Self-Empowered Healing is a process that keeps the pinball shooting for its most empowering target. There are plenty of resources out there to guide yourself to your desired outcome. And, many of us can use an expert mentor to help the ball hit just the right pins to make its path to the objective one of ease and grace. It’s your choice: assemble all your power, or give some away. My vision for you is that you love your life, and have all the vitality you need to live it as you choose.